Let's face it — life is crazy. Between work, trying to maintain a social life, family obligations, and all the other stuff that comes along, our days are packed. This leaves very little time for America's greatest past time: TV watching. But when winter break comes around, we finally get a few days to ourselves! Whether it be a break from school or work, most people get a mini-vacation from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What better time to binge-watch some TV series!?
The only problem is you probably still won't have time for a 10-season show with 150 episodes. So you can kiss your epic The Simpsons binge-watching plans goodbye! But there are several short series that are perfect for a nice weekend binge when you have a few days to spare. If you've wanted to catch up on the hottest miniseries and brand new shows as well as TV classics that you just haven't gotten around to, this is the time! Here are the best short series to catch up with during winter break!
Series length: one season, 19 episodes
This is one of the greatest one-season wonders of all time! Which, clearly, means it's a perfect short series binge-watch. If you haven't watched this '90s study in teen adolescence yet, it's about damn time you did. The classic Claire Danes-fronted teen drama is just as relatable now as it was in 1994. Few shows nail the chaos and confusion of being a teen better than this show (and of being an adult, TBH). It's a must-see even if you're a 20-something. And at less than 20 episodes, it'll be a breeze to binge.
Series length: three seasons, 24 episodes
24 episodes may seem like a lot, but you'll be clamoring for more at the end of this binge — especially because episodes are less than a half hour. Insecure follows our complicated protagonist Issa (played by Issa Rae) and her best friend Molly as they navigate life in their late-20s in LA. The show is full of thought-provoking plotlines about racial issues, feminism, relationships, and sex — but you'll also be laughing the whole time because that's how good the writing is. Trust us; you'll blow through the whole show in less than two days.
Series length: one season, 10 episodes
If a complex historical drama is more your speed, may we direct you to Band of Brothers? The series tells the story of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division during World War II and recounts the exploits of real soldiers during the war. Each episode focuses on a different person, and their fate on the show is indicative of what happened in real life. The series was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, and it boasts an all-star cast brimming with talent. With only ten episodes, each about an hour long, you can enjoy a thrilling story and historical accuracy!
Tons of shows have done the "'80s thing" lately but other eras are so neglected. Well, Everything Sucks! attempts to correct that by centering in on middle school kids in the '90s. With an emphasis on the A/V club, drama kids, and other middle school misfits, the series nails those confusing, awkward, formative years. It also doesn't get too wrapped up in obsessing over the time period. The series shows the '90s perfectly without being over the top. This short series is a perfect time warp to let you relive your middle school winter breaks, spent making snow forts and obsessing over what your crush is doing!
There is still a huge fascination with the OJ Simpson murder case, trial, and subsequent acquittal. If you're a crime podcast fan and you've run out of docs to watch, this may be the perfect short series binge watch for you. The limited run series contains the story of Simpson's trial to 10 episodes focusing on the members of the prosecution and the defense. It's by far the best dramatization of the Simpson trial and will even teach you quite a few things you never knew about the case!
Series length: two seasons, 45 episodes
Sure, 45 episodes sound like a lot, but when the eps clock in at less than a half an hour, it flies by. This is the perfect show for any Aaron Sorkin superfan who doesn't have the time to binge through The West Wing again! Sorkin created the series that follows a sports news show going by the same name as the series. Josh Charles and Pete Krause lead the series and lead the newsroom on this fast-paced dramedy that is the hidden gem in Sorkin's library of TV shows.
Series length: one season, 22 episodes
Don't let the title fool you, this is one of the greatest comedies of the last few years. When 20-something Kate (Malin Akerman) marries an older man, she's instantly seen as his "trophy wife." She works hard to prove to his ex-wives, his children, and their circle of friends that she is so much more than arm candy. It's an honest and hilarious look at unconventional families, step-parenting, and what to do when there's a huge generational gap between you and your S.O.! Alas, the poor title led to poor ratings and this one was ripped from us too soon. But that means the entire series is perfect for a quick binge!
Series length: four seasons, 29 episodes
Plenty of comedies carry on for far too long and the comedy becomes stale. Eastbound & Down escaped that trap by going out on top and ending after a mere 29 episodes spread over four seasons. This series introduced the world to Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), a former pro baseball player whose up-and-down career leads him to substitute teaching in his hometown. McBride's Powers has become legendary and has become such in less than 30 episodes of TV! If that's not a great reason to binge this show, we don't know what is.
Series length: two seasons, 20 episodes (still ongoing)
Most people know Aziz Ansari as lovable, narcissistic Tom from Parks and Recreation. Well, this is not Tom. Sorry! For his follow up to Parks and Rec Ansari created this series about Dev Shah, an actor living in New York City. Master of None follows Shah's personal and professional life and is basically an autobiographical series about Ansari's own life as a single, aspiring actor in NYC. The short series is ongoing, but no one has any idea when season three may materialize since Ansari was accused of sexually predatory behavior by a past hookup. It's interesting because this show was known for giving a thoughtful look into intersectional feminism and equality. You can watch, do some research, and decide for yourself if Aziz Ansari is canceled.
Series length: four seasons, 19 episodes (still ongoing)
We're 120% sure you have a friend who has told you to watch this series so why not binge it during winter break? It's four seasons, but at less than 20 episodes, it's a perfect weekend mind-f#$k! Because make no mistake, this show will totally mess with your head. Each episode is a standalone story related to technological consequences and a dystopian future. A fifth season is coming sometime soon and probably won't add a significant amount of episodes to the total tally, keeping this short series perfect to zip through.
Series length: two seasons, 18 episodes (still ongoing)
This is a period show completely unlike the ones that came before it. Instead of being stuffy and droll, this series leans more towards the comedic side of things. Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) is a 1950s housewife who realizes she has a knack for stand-up comedy and begins pursuing her talent. We love this one because it's all about funny women and how crappy the men around them are — forever mood. While the series is still ongoing and will require further dedication, it's well worth the time spent on it. Plus, with only 8-10 episodes a season, we're pretty sure by the time the next season comes out you'll be able to carve a few hours to binge!
Series length: four seasons, 16 episodes (still ongoing)
Sixteen episodes! You have no excuse not to indulge in this super short series! Luther follows officer John Luther (Idris Elba), an almost obsessive cop who finds himself wading in dark waters as he investigates a psychopathic murderer. With a mere 2-6 episodes per season, this one is easy peasy to watch. You'll be so engaged by the drama (and Elba's face) that before you know it, you'll have finished the whole series. Which is perfect since a new season (of only four episodes!) begins on January 1st, 2019!
Series length: two seasons, 20 episodes
This show is chock full of all your favorite funny people. Adam Scott, Ken Marino, and Lizzy Caplan (see what I said about all your fave funny people?!) bring to life the Party Down catering company staffed by aspiring creatives in Hollywood. Each episode focuses on a new event or party (including a sweet sixteen and an orgy party) while giving insight into the lives of the caterers themselves. The series only lasted two seasons, with Scott leaving to do a tiny, little show called Parks and Recreation. That show is an involved binge watch. This one is perfect for a few extra days off.
Series length: one season, 18 episodes
When it comes to shows that deserved more than one season, Freaks and Geeks is high on the list. This is the perfect companion to Everything Sucks! since they both zero in on teen years pre-Y2K. You could watch both series and it would still be short and painless! Freaks and Geeks gets a little more mature than Everything Sucks!, though, diving into the world of burnouts and, well, losers in high school. Yes, James Franco is canceled, but Busy Philipps and Linda Cardellini are not, so watch for them.
Series length: one season, seven episodes (still ongoing)
This was one of the best miniseries of 2017 so naturally it made its way onto this list. Based on the best selling novel of the same name, Big Little Lies follows the life of affluent friends in Monterey, California and the murder that brings them together. Intrigue and mystery abound in this beautifully shot and masterfully acted series. Oh, and good news, what began as a miniseries has evolved beyond that and a second season is coming! It'll feature Meryl Streep. That's all you need to know.
Series length: two seasons, 16 episodes
Sometimes crime documentaries can get very dark and depressing. But it's always fun coming along for the ride to solve a mystery on one of those series. What if I told you there's a series that will allow you to do just that and laugh your ass off the entire time? It exists, I promise! American Vandal is the Making a Murderer parody the world didn't know it needed. The first season investigates vandalism (more specifically, dicks drawn on teachers' cars) and the troubled student blamed for the crime. The second season expands on the premise, and, while not as revolutionary as the first, is still a laugh riot. It was unfortunately canceled after the second season, so 16 episodes are the entirety of the short series. A speedy, hilarious binge for when things get too serious!
Series length: four seasons, 38 episodes
This is the longest series on this list but it's worth the extra few hours spent in front of a TV screen. At under 40 episodes, it's still a relatively short series, and you'll get all the benefits of The Bachelor drama during the off-season! UnREAL captures the behind-the-scenes craziness of making a reality dating show. The backstage machinations that make the fictional show tick are often super messed up, unethical, and probably not far off from what actually happens on real reality TV shows. But it's often the producers' drama that supersedes whatever's happening on the fictional dating show. Hulu recently acquired the show and released the final season on its platform meaning this is a complete package you can binge through.
Series length: two seasons, 21 episodes (still ongoing)
This is the TV series that proved once and for all that Donald Glover can do it all. Comedy, music, drama, writing, and directing are just a few of his many skills! He created this series which follows two cousins trying to make it in Atlanta, Georgia's rap scene. The series melds drama and comedy perfectly, earning the show plenty of awards. That's how well done it is! For Childish Gambino fans or anyone who just really loves Community, this is the best binge choice you could make this winter break. A third season is on the way, but since no one knows exactly when you won't have to worry about catching up on that until next winter break!